Missouri Puts the Overrated Talks to Bed

Charles PennContributor IMarch 5, 2009

Many people questioned whether Missouri was going to be able to bounce back after getting blown out by 25 in Lawrence against Kansas on Sunday.

Missouri did just that—and put the overrated talks to bed.

Twelfth-ranked Missouri was able to end Senior Night on a good note at home against fifth-ranked Oklahoma.

Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll led the way with 15 points each as Missouri won 73-64. Blake Griffin led the Sooners with 16 points and 21 rebounds to go along with six turnovers.

Missouri ends the home finale with an 18-0 record, the best in school history. Missouri goes to 25-5 as they will face Texas A&M down in Aggieville on Saturday. Oklahoma falls 26-4 and they have lost three out of their last four games.

The keys to Missouri winning last night were that they won the assist-to-turnover ratio battle. Missouri currently leads the nation in this category. Both teams had 13 assists, but Missouri only had nine turnovers while Oklahoma had 21.

The Griffin brothers combined for 30 points and 29 rebounds, but their supporting cast was nowhere to be found for Oklahoma. The other key man to the Sooners' offense Willie Warren, was shut down for most of the game. J.T. Tiller and Zaire Taylor did an excellent job of defending him all over the court. Warren went three-for-11 with 7 points, six assists, and four turnovers.

Tony Crocker only had two points on one-for-five shooting, while Austin Johnson had 11 points for the Sooners.

Another key to Missouri winning was that they finally got off to a good start in the first half as they led 38-29 at halftime. Even though Missouri has been winning the whole season, that is one of the achilles' heels of this ball club.

If Missouri continues to play well in the first half, they could go to the next level come tournament time as a possible Elite Eight team. Missouri is already known for being an excellent second half team, so this asset can help them in the long run.

Oklahoma has to be a bit concerned now that they are in this losing funk. Oklahoma is still an Elite Eight team on paper, but if the supporting cast can not provide the extra scoring for Blake Griffin, this team could get bounced in the Sweet 16. In order for Oklahoma to get back on track, they need to find the intensity on defense again.

Oklahoma's next opponent is against Oklahoma State at home in the Bedlam War.

To cap off the night for Missouri, ninth-ranked Kansas was upset by Texas Tech in Lubbock 84-65. Kansas still has a share of the Big 12 regular-season crown, but if Texas can end their nation leading 40 game home-winning streak and Missouri wins in Aggieville, Missouri can hold a share of the crown with them.

Missouri and Kansas do not like sharing, but for Missouri it will be huge as it would be their first Big 12 regular season title in school history.